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How to deal with unhappy customers?
Everyone makes mistakes, it is nearly impossible to eliminate them completely. Irritated customers are the unavoidable reality of business anyway. So it depends on your actions, whether they leave you for a competitor or stay, share their bad experience with friends or praise your services.
In this article, we'll explore different customer types, provide a step-by-step guide for eliminating conflicts and share our recommendations on how to turn a negative experience into new possibilities.
Types of unhappy customers
One type of customer is expecting a profound apology, another one seems calm but is making conclusions, and the third one insists on the need for a swift solution to the problem. Each of them requires a special approach, and it's good if you can determine which one straight away. Understanding customers' expectations allow you to build a conversation properly and reduce dissatisfaction to a minimum.

Furious customer usually overloads you with incessant accusations — general and possibly personal ones. For them, it takes time to get straight to the point.

Sometimes this kind of behavior is intentionally exaggerated, to cause a feeling of guilt that usually pushes agents to please customers somehow.

Show some firmness, patience, and courtesy. Excuses won't help. It’s better to get down to business right away: explain how who and at what time will solve the problem that has arisen.

Balanced customer replaces the accusations with the phrases "well, I'm not sure", "how so", and "I would've done it differently". Expressing concern and disagreement they still remain polite while resenting.

Your answer should be calm but confident. After solving their problem be sure to keep the conversation about other topics, as this type of customer highly appreciates the attention.

The quiet customer rarely complains, however, they memorize everything and make conclusions afterward. One day you just realize that they left you for a competitor, telling their colleagues along the way how bad your services are.

Ease the way for complaints and claims: send periodic emails containing short questionnaires, organize calls from a personal manager or use any other method, depending on company standards. And don't be afraid to overdo it: by statistics, only one out of 25 quiet customers complains.

Key customers know they are important, expect only the best, and are ready to pay for it. Same as the furious type, they can't stand excuses and demand their issues be resolved in the shortest period.

Fix the problem as soon as possible, contact them later to make sure that everything is ok, and ask if there is any way to compensate for the inconvenience caused.

Know-it-all customer usually gets upset if you don't agree with their suggestions. They truly believe that are good at many things even if it's far from being true.

Explain your position in detail and give examples from personal experience. This type of customer is great for improving communication skills.

Nagging customer is aiming for compensation. They don't need answers and explanations. If they believe that you are at fault, nothing will suit them, except for a bonus for the inconvenience caused.

Self-control, confidence in the product, accurate numbers, and proven facts will help to repel an unreasonable onslaught.

The complaining customer asks a lot of questions, without making any effort to understand the situation. These customers complain about everything and anything. They nag about your prices, the layout of your office, the color of your shirt, and even the weather.

Take a deep breath and keep calm. It is not easy to please such a customer: they expect fully detailed answers and lengthy apologies. And once you are done with that they come with another reason to complain. On the plus side, these customers really appreciate your efforts. If they like everything, they will sing praises about you to every acquaintance.
Conflict resolution
Here are seven proven steps that will help you to improve your image in customers' eyes and to get out of a difficult situation with a head hold high.
1) Listen
Let your customer vent. Perhaps they are angry and have a heated discussion with you. Don't take it personally — aggression is not directed at you but at the situation. Keeping your cool is extremely difficult, but don't let your emotions win.

Your main goal is to find out what the problem is and help the customer to cool off. Don't interrupt, but make it clear that keeping it calm will speed up the process.

Your enemies: emotionality, irritated tone, mirroring customer's behavior (it is only good in sales), and negligence.
2) Be empathic
We all like the compassion of the other person, especially when it comes to stressful situations. Once you're sure that aggression is all gone, gather yourself together and express some empathy. Show that you understand why they're upset.

Your friends: "I understand your frustration", "You must be filling so bad now", "I was in the same situation and know how it feels".
3) Apologize
Whether the customer’s complaint is legitimate or not is really irrelevant. You still need to apologize. Trying to point out the reason, blaming it all on the third party, magnet storms and the full moon won't help — it will only throw oil on the fire.

Put yourself in customer's shoes, think about the unpleasant experience they had to go through, and apologize.

Your enemies: ambiguity, falseness, a semblance of courtesy.
4) Choose your next move
If you are not completely sure about customer expectations, just ask them. Go through the key points of the problem again and ask additional questions if needed. From one side, you let the customer know that you listened to them carefully, and from the other side, can confirm your assumptions about which direction to take. You need to know what will make your customer happy.

Your friends: getting to the root of the problem, serenity, and amicability. 
5) Find a solution
If you know how to fix the issue, do it. If not, immediately involve a specialist who will cope with the task better than others. Explain your actions to the customer and let them know how long defect elimination will take.

Offer compensation, such as a discount or bonus, or allow them to use your product free of charge for a certain period. If you have doubts about it, ask a customer what would they prefer to get as compensation.

Your enemies: chaotic actions, slow response, refusal to compensate.
6) Recharge your batteries
After the situation has been resolved take your own "time-out". Even if you've handled the situation in the most professional way possible, it's still a stressful experience. Rather than let that stress linger inside you, take a short walk, treat yourself to a snack or find someone to talk to who makes you laugh.

Once you are back to normal, take a few minutes to reflect on what happened. Analyze this case and document it (stating the date, issue, and the solution) — that will help you to deal with similar situations in the future without being that involved emotionally.

Your friends: a short break, different activities, situation analyses, lessons for the future.

7) Run a diagnostic
Be thankful to an unhappy customer — he showed the weak point of a product or service. After the conflict is resolved go back to the reasons. Don't look for the ones to blame, don't start a war among agents, just make sure it won't happen again.

Your enemies: disregarding received signals and lack of error analyses.

Do not turn the desire to provide excellent service into a banal toady. Customers are not always right, and some of them will remain dissatisfied. Respect yourself and your employees. Act according to the famous Ritz-Carlton motto: "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen".